Science: How to Talk to a Tool

About seven years ago Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed machine tools with small mechanical brains that take their orders from punched paper tapes. Needing no human help, they eliminated the jobs of many human operators, but as compensation, they created jobs for mathematicians to put their instructions in the number language that their brains understand. Last week M.I.T. demonstrated a second step: it had developed a gimmick to dump the mathematicians.

The trick was done by inventing an "English-like language" that any good machinist can learn and that a computer can translate into the numerical language of the machines' tapes. A draftsman...

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